It can be difficult for business leaders to envision their upcoming hosting needs before they get to them. Your current hardware, hosting service, and support team might fit your needs this month, but what’s going to happen down the road, when your client base and traffic demands grow?
IT professionals often find themselves having to present the case to change hosting solutions after companies have outgrown their current resources. Here are a few things that business leaders and IT departments should discuss before they invest in data hosting.
Study your industry
The hosting options that an online retailer embraces will be very different from the hosting required by a tutoring agency or a physician’s office. Your company’s hosting service should meet your traffic, storage, and security needs.
For example, media companies often find that virtual private servers meet their needs the best, because they can leverage powerful virtual machines to process video and edit photography, without having to own the hardware. On the other hand, industries that handle sensitive patient or client information often opt for in-house servers, since this gives you optimal control over data privacy and confidentiality.
Companies want their hosting solutions to be tailor-made for the industry they’re involved in. These systems should meet the needs of their clients, operations, and back-of-house teams.
If a business is using an inappropriate solution, IT professionals will often have to advocate for hosting change, in order to streamline efficiency and protect data.
Leaders should reexamine their business plans, then invest in hosting solutions that can handle their anticipated growth over the next few years.
For example, will your company need to run server-side web applications and be online continually? What levels of traffic are you anticipating, and will you be able to upgrade the bandwidth?
Some businesses paint themselves into a corner when they invest in shared hosting, in which multiple businesses use the same resources. This can dramatically affect performance, and lead to unpredictable service.
You’ll need to examine your resources and make sure you have processes in place to switch hosts if the company needs to scale up.
Independence vs. assistance
When is it worth it to hire third-party assistance or increasing your in-house IT department? Carefully examine your hosting package: Many options include offsite support to varying degrees.
However, companies that move forward with in-house servers will also need to beef up their local support resources, since these solutions are often calibrated specifically to the company’s needs.
There are pros and cons to remote hosting vs. in-house hosting that extend beyond support. A company’s independence regarding upgrades and customization also relies on the solution it invests in.
For example, IT departments that control in-house servers can quickly troubleshoot, upgrade, and customize advance settings that a firm normally wouldn’t have control over. But these tweaks require employees who have a high level of technical expertise.
On the flip side, remote hosting services generally come with built-in support services to address problems, but the client company will often find itself locked into feature packages that don’t allow the option of customization.
Dedicated, in-house servers and support will be the priciest hosting option, although they’ll give you the greatest amount of flexibility and control. Third-party hosting and support will generally be more affordable, but you’ll be locked into your service agreements.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which strategies will best fit the needs of your business. Company leaders must deliberate with the IT team to identify the best hosting strategy.
The route may not remain static; it’ll shift as the business scales, changes goals, and branches out into more advanced data structures. However, careful planning can help your organization reduce data-related costs and hassles over the long run.